Understanding The Difference Between Air Dry And Oven Bake Clay




Key Takeaways:

  • Clay Variety: There are many types of clay in the world of clay art, including air-dry clay and oven-bake clay.
  • Diverse Colors: Air-dry and oven-bake clays come in many different colors that would make them suitable for any art project.
  • Drying Methods: When it comes to drying, air-dry clay dries in the air. However, oven-bake clay requires baking at certain intervals at specified temperatures within a conventional oven for settling.
  • Oven-Bake Clay (Polymer Clay): Oven-bake clay should be set using a proper oven. It is sturdy, comes in various colors, and is fit for detailed projects.
  •  Tips for Success: Use particular guidelines for collaborating with different types of clay in this textbook. 

The difference between air dry and oven bake clay. This family of clays boasts many colors and is suitable for various artistic tasks, the air-dry clays vs. oven-baking clays are the Basics. We will also describe their drying process, distinctive from one kind to another. And also talk about how much time to put air dry clay in oven?

People often work with two types of clay –air-dry clay and polymer clay. They’re both fantastic, but they function. Besides, air-dry clay doesn’t need an oven because it dries by itself. It is made of polymer clay, but it has to get cooked or more complex.

The Difference Between Air Dry And Oven Bake Clay

First, let’s talk about the differences between these clays before going into all the details. You did not draw it upon yourself whether you were using soft clay, nature clay, or straight from a previous project. 

Understanding the unique properties of these clays can guide you in creating cool clay art. Must we delve into the exciting differences between air-dry clay and oven-bake clay so that you may create beautiful things with them?

What Is Air Dry Clay?

It is an ideal type of clay for both beginners and skilled practitioners. It is a soft and moldable material that can be molded in different ways, thus being a favorite for all the artists in the artwork of art. It does not need an ordinary oven for drying, which makes it one of the strong suits possessed by oil-free fryers. Rather than this, it is exposed and air-dried, making its preparation very easy.

What Is Air Dry Clay

This kind of clay provides an array of colors for artistic imaginations to run wild. With acrylic paint, you can add more colors to your work. For this reason, air-dry clays are ideal for such projects because they dry.

What Is Oven Bake Clay?

Another used material for sculpting with natural clay is oven-bake or polymer clay. But, it is different in that it necessitates the use of an ordinary oven for setting. But, following the suggested baking time and temperature will yield the desired outcome.

What Is Oven Bake Clay

Polymer clay is available in various colors and hardens when heated. Ensuring the right baking temperature is crucial for desired results. If you’re using traditional modeling clay and it’s become hard, consider soften modeling clay in microwave. Place it in a microwave-safe container and heat it in short bursts to make it pliable again.

There are different features of air-dry clay and oven-bake as well as polymer. That qualifies these types of clay as suitable for some specific clay artistic activities. That is why you would make a decision on which of the two meets your needs on that particular project and your desires.

Difference Between Air Dry And Oven Bake Clay

The two common types of clay used in artistic endeavors are air dry and oven-baked clay. Let’s learn the difference between air dry and oven bake clay.

Air-dry clay refers to clay that dries out all by itself while not requiring an oven heat treatment. Its ease of use and the variety of colors available are the reasons why many people prefer it. Acrylic paint allows the easy addition of more colors and details to your creations.

The other two types of clay that do not need any more processing for longevity such as terra cotta and stoneware clays. Oven-bake clay or polymer clay needs to be baked at very high temperatures to reach its solidity. It is also available in different shades, like air-dry clay. Air dry clay, hence giving artists a wide range to select from when working.

For clay, how hot is kiln the drying process is a crucial difference between those two clays. While oven-bake clay is cured by the heat in the oven, air-dry clay dries out in the open.

One key distinction between those two clays is drying. Air-dry clay dries out in the open air, whereas baking in an oven causes the heat to cure oven-bake clay.

Air-dry clay is known for its soft and pliable nature, making it an excellent choice for beginners. Omit, working with oven-bake clay requires attention to baking times and temperatures.

Whether you’re starting with fresh clay or using leftover clay from previous projects, both air-dry and oven-bake clay offers a broad spectrum of possibilities for your creative clay art endeavors.

Air Dry Vs Oven Bake Clay: An In-Depth Comparison

When it comes to arts and crafts, two types of clay are often used: air-dry clay and oven-bake clay, also known as polymer clay.

Air Dry Vs Oven Bake Clay
Aspect ClayAir Dry ClayOven Bake Clay(Polymer Clay)
Drying Process Air Dries NaturallyRequires Baking In An Oven 
Colors AvailableVarious Wide Variety Of Colors 
Additional Coloring EasilyUse Acrylic PaintsCan Mix Colors
Ease Of Use Attention To Baking Soft And Beginner-Friendly Requires Oven
Common UseClay Art Projects Clay Art Projects
ConvenienceNo Oven Needed Oven Required
Setting TimeAir Dries Gradually Requires Effort
Type Of Clay Non-Polymer Clay Polymer Clay 

I do not doubt that you will enjoy DIYing with these enjoyable materials, whether you select polymer clay or air dry clay. With this knowledge, you should be able to choose the appropriate material for your subsequent clay project.

Air Dry And Oven Bake Clay: Which Is A Better Option?

Choosing between air-dry clay and oven-bake clay depends on your specific needs and preferences is air dry or oven bake clay better. Let’s compare them to help you decide which one might be the better option for your project:

Air Dry Clay:


  • No need for a conventional oven; dries naturally in the air.
  • Soft and easy to work with, making it ideal for beginners.
  • Available in a variety of colors.
  • Can be used for a wide range of clay art projects.


  • Longer drying time.
  • Less durable compared to polymer clay.
  • Can crack or warp if not handled properly.

Oven Bake Clay (Polymer Clay):


  • Quick and controlled drying process with an oven.
  •  Wide variety of colors and the ability to mix colors easily.
  •  Durable and long-lasting results.
  •  Suitable for intricate clay art projects.


  •  Requires access to a conventional oven.
  •  More attention to baking times and temperatures is necessary.
  •  Not as soft as air-dry clay, which can be a challenge for some beginners.

Well, if you want to put it like that. The decision of when to use air-dried clay or baked clay depends on your desire. Output in a particular specific project and also your interest in the drying process. 

If you are starting and want something simple that requires drying over time, go for the air-dry clay. Still, in case you must speedier and longer-lasting results that can only be guaranteed with an oven. Then, polymer clay may provide a more appropriate option.

Tips For Your Next Air Dry And Oven-Baked Clay Projects

When diving into clay art projects, whether is air dry clay as good as oven bake, a few helpful tips can elevate your creations. Here are some user-friendly suggestions for your next projects:

Tips for Your Next Air Dry and Oven-Baked Clay Projects
  1. Stay Patient: Patience is essential when using air-drying clay as it needs ample time to dry out. Take your time with it to avoid wrinkles and deformations.
  1. Keep It Covered: During your work on the project, you should cover unused clay with plastic wrap or a damp cloth so as not to let it dry out ahead of time.
  1. Smooth Surfaces: When drying, use fingers or tools to make the final touch-ups and create a polished effect on the object’s surface.
  1. Add Water: If your clay seems to dry up as you work, immerse both your hands and tools in watery water to remain pliable.
  1. Seal After Drying: After your project has dried completely, you should use a clear varnish or sealant as more protection and to make it look more attractive.
  1. Temperature Accuracy: Consider types with temperature to fire clay. If you must bake at a low temperature, use an oven thermometer to make sure the heat setting in your oven is accurate.
  1. Proper Ventilation: Polymer clay should be baked in a well-ventilated area because it emits fumes that could accumulate otherwise.
  1. Protect Your Baking Surface: Lay your work of ceramic art onto a baking sheet or parchment so as not to stick with a base when being baked.
  1. Avoid Overworking: Working on polymer clay will make it challenging. Work but Do Not Over Knead.
  1. Sculpt In Stages: Consider baking your creation in stages to avoid accidental deformities for intricate projects.
  1. Experiment And Learn: Polymer clay offers endless creative possibilities. Don’t hesitate to experiment with different colors and techniques to develop your skills.

Whether you choose air-dry or oven-bake clay for your next project, these tips can help you create beautiful clay art with confidence and ease.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can I Bake Air Dry Clay in My Oven?

No, do not bake air-dry clay in a conventional oven. Air-dry clay is designed to dry naturally in the air. 

Can I Put Water on My Air Dry Clay Projects?

Yes, you can add a small amount of water to air-dry clay projects if they start to dry out or become too dry while you’re working on them.

Will Baking Air Dry Clay Make It Waterproof?

No, baking air-dry clay in an oven will not make it waterproof. Air-dry clay remains porous, and baking it won’t change that property. To make your air-dry clay waterproof.

Can You Paint Air-Dry Clay Before It Dries?

Yes, you can paint air-dry clay before it dries. Acrylic paints work well on air-dry clay. Be sure to let the paint dry completely before handling the clay further.

Can You Mix Different Colors of Air-Dry Clay to Create New Colors?

Yes, you can mix different colors of air-dry clay to create new colors. Knead the clay together thoroughly to achieve a uniform color.

Can You Make Air-Dry Clay Harden Faster?

Air-dry clay needs time to dry naturally, but you can speed up the drying process by placing your creation in front of a fan or using a hairdryer on a low, cool setting. Just be cautious not to use too much heat, as it may cause cracking.


Choosing the difference between air dry and oven bake clay. If you want to dive into the exciting universe of clay art. The two main clay varieties present a range of options. Knowledge of their distinction would come in handy when deciding on the suitable clay type for a particular project.

For the beginner or artist wanting a more pace, air-dry clay is a type that can be worked while it dries out. The paper is elastic and comes in different colors, making it ideal for many applications.

But oven-bake clay, also known as polymer clay, gives artists a level of control over the drying process. It provides durability that is good for detailed and long-lasting. The spectrum of color palettes, as well as the possibility to mix them, invites infinite combinations.

About the author

Written By

William Prince

William Prince

Meet William Prince!

With over 20 years of ceramic artistry experience, William Prince is not just a skilled potter; he’s a passionate guide to your pottery journey. William holds a Fine Arts degree specialized in pottery and he was also nurtured under the guidance of renowned potters. With over two decades of experience, he seamlessly blends tradition with contemporary aesthetics.

William’s inspiration stems from nature’s imperfections, translating them into unique, organic pottery pieces. As a patient and warm-hearted teacher, he’s known for conducting pottery workshops and classes, nurturing talents with his expertise. Join William on “fishingflora.com” and let his mastery inspire your own pottery adventure. Uncover the magic of crafting pottery with a trusted mentor who’s dedicated to both the art and the artist.

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